Church comes to town with controversial reputation
New churches sprout up all the time here in the buckle of the Bible Belt. But one congregation about to arrive in Nashville may bring a hefty load of baggage from around the globe.
In Houston, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has faced lawsuits from disillusioned former members who claimed it defrauded poor immigrants out of large amounts of money by convincing them that their donations would bring them salvation.
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In Brazil, its home country, authorities detained a top official of this Pentecostal denomination in 2005 as he landed in a private jet toting seven suitcases that held the equivalent of $4.7 million in cash. The church’s founder has been accused in Brazil of embezzlement and tax evasion, but he has never been convicted.
In London, the Universal Church is best known for its connection to the Victoria Climbié case. The guardians of eight-year-old Victoria, a refugee from the Ivory Coast, took her to a UCKG church three times during the period in early 2000 when they were inflicting some 128 separate injuries on her body, as they tortured her in order to break Satan’s hold over her soul. The pastor prayed for her health. Only on the last visit, when she was semi-conscious, did he suggest they see a doctor. At the enquiry after her death, he said he too had considered her possessed.
And now the Universal Church is coming to Nashville.
[Read more at NashvillePost.com]
The NashvillePost.com site includes a response to this story sent on behalf of the Universal Church by a spokesperson based in Southampton, England.
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